Common Desktop Environment: Style Guide and Certification Checklist

File Selection Dialog Box







If your application allows the user to open or save files, then it uses the standard Common Desktop Environment file selection dialog box to allow the user to select specific files and directories. 

All user interactions with the file system should be facilitated by providing a point-and-click style of choosing files and directories. The user should never be forced to memorize and type in file paths. The user must be able to explore the contents and structure of the file system using scrolling lists. The expert user, however, should be able to directly enter a complete file path, as well as be able to use relative paths and environment variables such as $HOME.

The labels and contents of the standard file selection dialog box may be modified as appropriate to make clear the particular context in which it is being used within your application. 



If your application allows the objects it manages to exist as separate entities within folders or toolboxes within the desktop environment, a Copy To menu option or button is provided that displays a file selection dialog box that allows the user to select the desired folder in which an icon for the object should be placed. 



The file selection dialog box should not display hidden (dot) directories or files, unless your users depend on using these types of files. If your application does support displaying hidden files, you should supply a check box allowing users to toggle between showing and not showing hidden files, or else allow users to toggle between showing and hiding files at a global level in your application. 



The file selection dialog box should not show the full path names for files and directories, but should only show the relative names, except for the directory text field  

The global Common Desktop Environment setting should be: 

XmFileSelectionBox.fullPathMode: false

Unless your application overrides this behavior, your file selection dialog box should not show full path names in the list boxes. 



In general, the file selection dialog box should recall the directory location that was previously set by the user. 

For example, if the user brings up Save As and navigates to /users/jay/letters to save the file, the next time the user brings up Save As, the file selection box should be in the directory /users/jay/letters. This information, however, should not be recalled once the user has closed the primary window, but should resort to the default directory.